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By SMH Webmaster on 7/30/2012 8:26 AM
There are many of you who have been around for awhile and like me, remember the old song Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. I can still hear Mick Jagger lamenting the fact that he "couldn't get no satisfaction". Being satisfied is something that our human nature strives for, but always seems to be an inch out of reach. In a few days, however, we will be taking our Associate Satisfaction Survey. The purpose of the survey is to measure how satisfied each of us is with Shawnee Mission Medical Center as a place to work.

Truthfully, it seems the last time I was satisfied for any length of time was the summer of 1969. I still recall what made that time so great. Water skiing on a nearby lake for hours, playing on a fast pitch softball team that was the best in the county, working with others my age at a summer camp in northern Minnesota and of course the music of the time was awesome. Ultimately, what made that time so great was my lack of responsibility.

Responsibility is a big word that drags a sack...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/23/2012 8:32 AM
The Associate survey will be starting in just a few weeks and I want to encourage all of you to take the time to answer the short survey. The second question on the survey asks if we have the equipment and materials to do our jobs. If we don't, it is akin to asking if we have the ingredients to make coconut crème pie while staring into an empty refrigerator. Without basic needs, we would be doomed to failure. Fortunately those who lead our medical center allow for millions of dollars of expenditures each year allowing us to have what we need to accomplish our work.

mThe day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, my twenty year old father made his way down to the navy recruiting station in Mankato, Minnesota. He found himself in a line of men that wound its way around several city blocks. Many, as he did, felt that the navy needed replenishing after its losses at Pearl Harbor. He spent the better part of the next four years serving his country. It wasn't until several Japanese Kamikaze airplanes...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/12/2012 10:00 AM
I don’t often get to do what I do best every day, but I do get to do many things that I do very well. Years ago, I attended a business session where the speaker asked the large group, “Is there something that you do better than 10 other people?” After briefly thinking about this, I told myself that there were many things I could do better than 10 other people. He went on to ask if there was something that each of us could do better than 100 other people. Once again after searching the inner recesses of my mind, I felt that I could do something better than 100 other people. We all have something we do better than most people. It is so important that we get the opportunity to do whatever that “something” is.

Oftentimes I sit down on a quiet Friday evening, feeling like I would like to write something and yet nothing comes to mind. There are no people to write about, or yester years bubbling up into my memory. No trips to reconsider or jobs gone well or awry. When we are not doing what we enjoy, life can become...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/5/2012 1:23 PM
For many years, I mistakenly thought the best presents we receive are those we get from ourselves. You know, the “to Brad, from Brad” kind. I remember the first bicycle I purchased for myself. Oh, it was cool! It was shiny black with three speeds. That was back in the days when all you had were one speed bicycles with a cute little basket on the front. Not too many years later, I was so proud when I saved every meager penny and dime I earned and purchased a 1971 red Pontiac LeMans to rumble around town in. To think that anyone would buy me even a small gift out of the goodness of their heart was foreign to me.

There are many of us here at Shawnee Mission Medical Center who, for whatever reason, believe we don’t need to receive recognition from anyone. We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, albeit with a little self—indignation, and wander through our days wishing in some small way that someone would recognize the work we do on a daily basis.

The fourth question on our Associate Opinion Survey, which...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/29/2012 12:52 PM
There is a question on our Associate Satisfaction Survey that reaches in and tugs at my heart. This question makes me sad in a small way as I think back on the hundreds of people whose paths have crossed mine over the years. I wonder how I have treated most of them. I haven’t always been kind to those less fortunate or giving of my time to those closest to me. Sure, for the most part I’ve sincerely cared for “most” people I’ve met, especially if they were kind and generous to me. But, I digress. The question that I am eluding to states, “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.

There have been a number of people who have impacted my life – people who watched out for my well—being, seeking nothing in return. They were only interested in my own good. Here are a few that even today bring a sense of warmth to my thirsty soul: my high school swimming coach, the pastor of the church that I attended while growing up, a beloved history professor during my first year in college, the...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/21/2012 11:50 AM
Question number six on our Associate Opinion Survey asks a very important question, “Is there someone at work who encourages my development?” I’m sure that as you rewind through your life’s history, you can think of many people who encouraged your development. Oftentimes, encouragement comes from caring words. Other times it can be about as subtle as a garbage truck emptying your trash can on a Wednesday morning. The latter happened to me during one of those summer days that only a twelve year old can relate to.

One summer, my best friend, Barry, and I went through our bow and arrow stage of life. We never managed to shoot any scampering rabbits, but we thought of numerous other dangerous bow activities to threaten the lives of families in the surrounding area. We would lie in the outfield grass in the baseball field behind Barry’s house and shoot arrows straight up into the sky above us, using our legs to assist in pulling the bow string back. Then, like the knuckleheads we were, we would run for our lives, hoping the arrow, now falling earthward, would safely land somewhere other than the tops of our Minnesota Twins baseball caps. One day, chatting with our bows by our sides, Barry suggested, “Why don’t we shoot these arrows with our legs as far as we can toward the Hatton’s house and see how far they go?” With my great intelligence working overtime, I responded, “Oh, that’s a great idea!”

...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/14/2012 8:26 AM
Sitting in my seventh grade English classroom during the winter of 1964—65, I watched the snow pile up until the windows were completely covered. That winter was the snowiest on record in Minnesota. One February day after school, I recall running outside and watching a snow plow pushing snow off the roof of the school building. The constant barrage of snowflakes finally ended in late March, when blizzards turned into violent rainstorms. The sudden change in weather caused the snow to start melting at a rapid pace. Soon the small river that ran through the middle of town erupted over its banks, spilling over the railroad tracks and threatening the shops and businesses surrounding it.

There is an important question on our employee opinion survey that asks, “At work, my opinions seem to count.” As the water rose in my hometown, I learned a valuable lifelong lesson about opinions – particularly when to offer them and when to quietly go about my business. One evening while sitting around the supper table, my dad said to my brother and I, “Boys, the men in town are going to meet down by the electric plant and put sandbags around it.” With a somber expression on his face, he finished by saying, “The two of you will need to help, you’re big and you can fill bags and put them in place.” Knowing the seriousness of the situation, we offered no argument or alternatives.

...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/7/2012 12:28 PM
Besides the shrill, electronic nonsense of your alarm clock, what motivates you to put your warm feet on the floor and make your way to Shawnee Mission Medical Center every day? Question number eight on the approaching Associate Satisfaction Survey asks, "The mission of my hospital makes me feel my job is important."

The reasons we work are numerous; we need the money, the satisfaction, the camaraderie or the release from boredom. It amazes me that we leave the joys and cares of our personal lives every day, and professionally, without complaint, secure the duties that lay in front of us here at our hospital.

Mission can be an elusive word, but it is at the core of our personal well—being. When our Medical Center's mission of Improving Health Through Christian Service aligns with our own personal mission, you can practically feel healing taking place within these sacred walls.

Poet William Wordsworth once wrote, "The best portion of a good man's life are his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." How fortunate we are that we get the privilege of being instruments of God in some small, yet meaningful, way.

...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/31/2012 10:16 AM
During the terrible struggle that enveloped the United States in the mid—19th Century, there was no battle as hideous as the Battle of Shiloh. New recruits on both sides had not been battle—tested, and thousands would fall mortally wounded at places since immortalized as the Peach Orchard and the Hornets' Nest. There was one brigade, the 55th Illinois, whose young soldiers threw down their weapons and ran away as fast as they could from the battlefield. This allowed the Confederate Army time to regroup after their defeat on the first day and steal away to lick their wounds. So, the battle ended with no victor.

My great—great—great grandfather, Horace Hickok, fought throughout the Civil War with the 55th Illinois. He was one of few in his regiment who survived the war unscathed. After their embarrassment at the Battle of Shiloh, these now battle—tested warriors were determined to regain their good name. They did, even though it took the next three years to earn the respect of the Union Army, the Grand Army...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/23/2012 9:45 AM
There is an interesting question on our Associate Opinion Survey that has probably puzzled each one of us at some point. The unique question is, “I have a best friend at work”. In reality, each of us wants to have friends and also be a friend to others. However, that six letter word has so much meaning to it. Let’s surgically open up the word “friend” and see what we can find. Who better to operate than the Pre—Kindergarten class in our own Child Care Center?

Now that we have “friend” gowned up and laying on one of our operating tables, let’s see what our five—year—old surgeons find:

Elise – It is someone who helps you build a tall tower with blocks.Adam – A friend that you like to sit by.Brogan – A person you help.Ian – A person who loves you just like you are.Nicholas – Someone who invites you to a sleepover and you stay all night.Braxton – Someone you want to hug.Ben – Someone you get in trouble with.

Our five—year—olds get it, don’t they? They don’t see a best friend as just one person,...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/18/2012 9:15 AM
There is a question on our employee survey that asks, "Has someone talked to me about my progress in the last 12 months?" Not knowing how we are doing can be puzzling. In elementary school, we started getting grades for our performance, and this continued throughout our educational endeavors. At work here in our hospital, each of us has a yearly appraisal along with a mid—year performance review, so our natural response to the question above would be yes. More importantly, though, is why we do this. Is it as much fun to watch a sporting event where they don't keep score? Would you watch the Super Bowl next year if the teams were just playing for the fun of it? Within the word success, the word progress can be found. Don't you like getting better at what you do?

A few years ago, I did several triathlons and enjoyed the physical challenge very much. I swam competitively in high school, so I knew the one—mile swim in the lake would be reasonably easy for me. There was one huge difference between the pool and...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/14/2012 8:11 AM
There was a densely wooded park situated in the middle of the small town that I grew up in. Families could picnic together in the summer, shaded by large elm trees. Amidst the sound of children playing, I could hear the hoarse chatter of ducks flying overhead. When I was a sophomore in high school, my dad arrived home one evening with a shivering and bewildered baby wood duck he had found in the park. It couldn’t have been more than a few days old when he retrieved it and brought it home. Photos taken at the time show my dad patiently holding and feeding the baby duck with a nourishing liquid concoction that he had put in a toy doll’s tiny plastic bottle.

Cautiously, he fed and cared for the duck until it was full grown. The beautiful wood duck had fashioned my dad as his mother. The two of them would walk around the backyard, the duck happily perched on my dad’s shoulder. Occasionally the bird would take to flight and return several minutes later to my dad’s shoulder. Hearing of this, you are probably...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/7/2012 12:28 PM
In June 1964, I came to Shawnee Mission Medical Center one evening with excitement, joy and fear. I was in labor having my first baby. Dr. Hobson and nurses guided me through the delivery successfully and I was so thankful for the blessing of a son. At that time, mothers stayed in the hospital for five days. I was young and naive with a limited understanding what was really involved in caring for a newborn. During those five days, my nurse was Hilda Erickson and she cared for me with tenderness. She understood I needed to learn so much and taught me so many things. When I left the hospital with my son, I felt calm and prepared for the beginning of motherhood.

A few years later, I was at Shawnee Mission Medical Center for a different reason – this time I was having my first surgery. There were so many unknowns for me, but once again I had a gentle nurse, Grace Tollerton, who was my night nurse. Without me needing to ask, she lovingly cared for me, moving me to make me more comfortable and recognized I was...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/8/2012 11:09 AM
Recently a friend of mine had surgery. However before the surgery, she sought second and third opinions. She was very uncertain about having surgery and delayed her decision for quite some time before she knew she had to go through with it. When she came back to her hospital room after surgery, she had a lovely bouquet of flowers. To her surprise, they were from her doctor wishing her a speedy recovery. She was overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness and for going above and beyond her expectations. She recognized that he understood her emotional dilemma. Because of this act of kindness, her loyalty and trust in him is cemented in her mind. She felt blessed.

Each day we encounter associates, patients and families who wish to feel a connection with us. Many of them are facing challenges of various kinds, and they long for the warmth of human connection and an understanding heart to touch, listen and offer a kind gesture toward them. How do we choose to meet their needs? Our eye contact, smile, touch and greeting...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/2/2012 1:47 PM
A great example of courage and determination can be seen in the life of Stephen Hawking, a British astrophysicist who was first diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease at age 21 while still a student at Cambridge University, England. On January 8, he celebrated his 70th birthday. Those who are diagnosed when young have a better survival rate but it is unusual to live with the disease for decades. He states on his website, "I have had (Lou Gehrig's disease) for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family and being successful in my work. I try to lead as normal a life as possible and not think about my condition or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many."

His accomplishments include A Brief History of Time, published in 1988 which sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. He taught mathematics at Cambridge for 30 years, retiring in 2009 to direct the Universities Center for Theoretical Cosmology. He has been photographed with...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/18/2012 12:54 PM
Debbie Bass from the Foundation for SMMC shared this story with me and I found it to be very encouraging. It is a legend about the rite of passage a young Cherokee Indian boy must endure to become a man. It teaches us that no matter how alone we feel, we are never truly alone.

A boy’s father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him an leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the entire night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

Naturally, the boy is terrified. He hears all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Another human might even do him harm. The wind blows the grass and earth, and shakes his stump, but he sits stoically, never removing the blindfold. This is the only way he can become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appears...
By SMH Webmaster on 1/5/2012 2:33 PM
As my friend and I sat in the large waiting room at Mayo Clinic waiting for our high school and college friend to come from her latest oncology appointment, we noticed so many families gathered there waiting for news from the doctors. What I noticed was the peace in the room as the patients and families waited. People were at computers checking the Internet, children were playing in an area arranged just for them and very comfortable chairs were placed to look out of the windows as people waited for their names to be called. A healing presence was felt by the way the staff quietly called out names or came to get patients with such a gentle spirit. Patients and their families reached out to others who they did not know, but had a common bond called cancer. The support and kindness to each other was noticeable. A touch, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on was offered and accepted.

Our friend came from her appointment with news that she needed radiation on the spot in her lung, as well as a different kind...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/9/2011 11:29 AM
When I was in high school, the sport I excelled in the most was swimming. While I enjoyed playing other sports like baseball and basketball more, it was in swimming where I performed best. I was in the seventh grade when the ornery high school swimming coach invited me to swim with the high school boys team. The coach decided that I would be a distance swimmer and focus on the 400 yard freestyle. I practiced both before and after school, swimming about four hours each day from October until March.

The practices were rigorous and difficult. Coach would require that I swim 10 400—yard swims each evening with a five minute break between each one. On top of that, I was told that if I did not best a time of eight minutes, I would have to swim an additional 400 yards each time. If you do a little math, you could reason that I was swimming three or four miles every night.

It was only by gaining stamina and determination that I was able to succeed. The payoff was swimming in the state championship event most...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/30/2011 8:28 AM
During the quiet years of the mid twentieth century, there was nothing compared to the sport of baseball in the small Minnesota town where I grew up. Before the onslaught of slow pitch softball, baseball was the game of choice during the few months squeezed between winter and another winter. My best friend’s dad had leveled an acre of ground in their backyard using an old, dilapidated Alice Chalmers tractor. Adjacent to the third base line and only a few yards away was a cornfield where foul balls were often deposited. Although only about the size of a football field, it offered an excellent place to spend the day playing hide and seek or flinging dirt chunks on the roof of Mr. Becker’s metal barn.In a small clearing in the center of the cornfield was a rusty water pump, nearly brown in color standing about three feet above the ground. It was held within a small castle—like structure made of old rocks and brick. The first time we came upon the pump we imagined it would render clear, refreshing water. One of my...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/17/2011 1:22 PM
Recently I was asked to give the eulogy at a funeral for a dear 90—year—old friend of mine. In taking the brief time I was given to capture her life, my mind raced to share the things that were important to her. Among those things was Shawnee Mission Medical Center. She and her husband were among the group who founded the hospital. During the planning and early stages, the founders had a vision for what it would mean to the community if they could obtain the resources to make a hospital happen. At great personal sacrifice, they contributed funds to help it become a reality by mortgaging their house. She became a prayer warrior and saw the results of her answered prayers. She often marveled about what SMMC had become.

She was among some of the first associates to work here and continued until her retirement, when she started volunteering. Her dedication to the mission made SMMC feel like home to her. This was her hospital where she considered everyone a friend and it became like her family and home. Throughout...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/10/2011 10:55 AM
One of the most beautiful parts of my job is hearing about success stories that take place in our hospital. Whether it’s the triumphant recovery of a baby in the NICU or an oncology patient beating cancer, my heart fills with pride each time one of these patients leaves SMMC. I’m proud to say that our associates never settle when it comes to caring for our patients. They push and inspire patients to achieve the highest quality of life possible – and sometimes the end result can even pleasantly surprise our staff. Below is a story that was sent to me by Sherry Wallace, one of our Speech and Language Pathologists in TherapyPlus. Without her sacred care and constant encouragement, her young patient never would have achieved such dramatic success. It is stories like this that make me proud to lead such an exceptional group of people.

Sam

I’ve had the privilege of working with a young teenager who has autism. He has always been non—verbal. Throughout his elementary and middle school years, he has used an...
By SMH Webmaster on 11/2/2011 2:56 PM
Normally our messages for Mission Moments come from one of our fellow associates, however today’s is different. Candy Seltman brought this article to my attention after reading it in an e—newsletter by Terri Moss called Healing with Heart: Inspirations for Health Care Professionals. Although it’s a little long, it touched me so greatly that I wanted to share it with each of you. It is a reminder of how precious life truly is. As health care workers, we deal with death on a regular basis, but we must not be numb to it. By ensuring that each of our encounters with family, friends, co—workers and patients is sacred and fulfilling, we will never regret not having one last interaction if one of us is called to Heaven.

Sam

Last night something unusual happened on the flight home from the east coast. Minutes before landing, the pilot requested that the passengers remain seated after the plane arrived at the gate. “I am going to ask a favor of you,” he said, “you may have noticed a Marine sitting in the plane’s first class section. He is accompanying the body of a fallen brother. I ask that you show your respect by remaining seated after we reach the gate so that he can join others at the side of the plane to welcome this fallen soldier home.” All did. The stillness within the plane was marked. As passengers filed from the plane I did not see a single person speaking.

...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/27/2011 7:24 AM
Sharon, a friend of mine from college, has a personal mission that inspires me. Each year she and her husband select one mission trip to participate in, helping others in India, Central and South America, Africa and other places. She sees how great the needs of others are while she is on these trips. Every day she works to assist people she does not know with practical things they need. Before her trips, she scours garage sales, consignment shops and thrift stores looking for items to send. She washes and sorts everything and sends it to her mission destination with the prefabricated churches and schools that volunteers have constructed. The clothing is carefully wrapped and used as packing material in the crates used to ship the rugged galvanized steel structures to the site. In her last shipment, she sent three tricycles for children. Sharon learned of a missionary couple in Africa who serve as foster parents and had recently been given infant triplets. She asked others to help her find clothes for the babies....
By SMH Webmaster on 10/6/2011 6:53 AM
A friend of mine from work was driving to work the other day, traveling north on U.S. 69 Highway. If you have driven that road during rush hour, you know how your knuckles can be turning white before your tense eyes. Upon arrival at the Medical Center, you have to peel your hands off the steering wheel. While dodging orange road barrels and trying not to scrape the cement road barriers, one of her little boys had a nose bleed. As any caring mother would do, she pulled a Kleenex out of a nearby box and in one motion, deftly swept the gentle tissue into the outstretched hands of her four year old in the seat behind her. While doing this motherly athletic display, she kept her car in the middle of her lane and didn’t interrupt her speed one way or the other.

Just as luck would have it, bad luck at this time, that annoying driver we all meet several times a day was going to intersect with her day and sour her attitude. The driver of a silver car approached quickly from behind, changing lanes adeptly and terrifying...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/21/2011 12:17 PM

You are here at Shawnee Mission Medical for a reason. Many of you know and understand that. Your journey has brought you to this place. Some of you may have wished for greater places and wonder why you have lingered longer than you had intended. There are those needing your presence today, who might bask in the glow of your kindness or inhale a few gentle words you have to say. Remember your path intersects the paths of many others, and while at times your road might seem difficult, you might create a less troublesome path for someone else.

The final paragraph from the book The Red Badge Of Courage by Stephen Crane sums up our journey. “He turned now with a lover’s thirst to images of tranquil skies, fresh meadows, cool brooks – an existence of soft and eternal peace.” You might not know where you are going, but someone greater than you does and all you must do is humbly follow that path.

—Brad Hoffman

 

By SMH Webmaster on 9/15/2011 1:34 PM
We knew the end was near as family filled our bedroom, watching and listening to my husband, Alan, breathe with great difficulty. My family had come to visit thinking we were going to celebrate Alan’s 60th birthday, but instead he took a turn for the worse and his hospice nurses said it would be a matter of hours before he passed.Twelve years before, he had a kidney removed and doctors thought the malignant tumor was encapsulated. Ten years later, he was told his abdomen was filled with cancer and nothing could be done locally, but maybe doctors at Mayo Clinic could help. When he saw the team of doctors at Mayo, they decided to operate and Alan was blessed with additional time with his family and friends. Our youngest grandchild, Mitch, would not leave Alan’s side for very long that Saturday afternoon. He sat beside him on our bed. Sensing the solemn heaviness in the room, Mitch proceeded to try and lighten the mood and starting telling jokes. He said, “Who has never had a ticket for driving?” Alan, who had not...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/7/2011 12:27 PM
One day as I was rounding on patients, I met Mrs. Brown. She was admitted for a creeping and deadly infection on her lower leg. The source of the infection was unknown and of course, she was afraid. She shared with me that she also had Parkinson’s disease, although that was not the reason for her admission. The more I chatted with her, I learned that she had two goals while at SMMC: first to get her Parkinson’s medication dosed on the same schedule as at home (which was not the SMMC regular dosing scheduled times) and second, to find the source of her infection, save her leg and go on a much anticipated cruise with her family.

I enjoyed getting to know Mrs. Brown. We shared a lot about our lives and families and I looked forward to visiting with her every day. The nurses and pharmacists worked very hard to meet her expectations on her medication dosing schedule. It was extra work for them to meet her needs, but they did so readily and with caring. The multidisciplinary care team worked well to treat her...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/31/2011 9:34 AM
Try to Remember your first date, or your first boyfriend or girlfriend. Ruminate on that thought for just a moment. I remember mine. Her name was Bonnie and it was the summer of 1968. Both of us were counselors at a summer camp, hidden in the forests of northern Minnesota. It was just an easy summer fling that was over as soon as it began as she moved back to her home in Minneapolis and I back to mine. Needless to say, my heart felt a little sad as we parted ways, never to see each other again.Your heart was designed for more than just sophomoric infatuation. It is the keeper of love for your family and those closest to you. It is the gate that opens during key times in your life and helps you make choices that ultimately take you down your personally designed life’s path. Often, for many of us, it becomes a huge castle wall that we build to keep out those who have hurt us or might hurt us. Deep down, the heart is also where hope is born, where decisions are made, where commitment is strengthened and our character...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/24/2011 7:54 AM
I had about as much interest in playing a band instrument as I did in learning to be a ballerina. Tomorrow, we were told, Mr. Henley would return and give us a musical ability test. Those who passed the test would have the great privilege of having personal lessons given to them by the aged band teacher. Slowly shaking my head, I knew that the best way to eliminate this problem was to purposely fail the test. The next day, using a number three lead pencil, rather than the asked for number two lead pencil, I quietly filled in the circles next to the questions that were asked. The pattern I used to fill in the circles looked very nice when I finished. The first four questions, I filled in the first circle, the next four, I filled in the second circle and so on through the fifth circle and then I returned the pattern back to the first circle. After not carefully filling in the last circle, I sat back and with extreme satisfaction, let out a sigh and laid my head on my desk.The next morning, our classroom teacher...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/17/2011 7:34 AM
We all have people who have come in and out of our lives who impact who we are today. I met one of mine during college at Drake University. Her name was Winnie, and she owned a little shop in the Valley Junction district of West Des Moines called Winnie’s Toy Orphanage.

Winnie’s was an enchanted place. You wouldn’t find the latest electronic game or the current toy fad here. Winnie focused on traditional, quality toys from around the world. When you walked in you were greeted by a ten foot German Steiff Giraffe, dolls in all shapes and sizes, wood blocks, quality stuffed bears and more. She was a master at merchandising and always had the most beautifully decorated windows. It was like stepping onto an old movie set.

But the merchandise was only half the story. If it weren’t for Winnie and her caring, loving personality, the store wouldn’t have been what it was. A somewhat frail, grey haired woman in her seventies, she knew her customers by name. Her stories about the toys she carried lured you in....
By SMH Webmaster on 8/14/2011 6:00 PM
There are many traits that each of us inherit from our ancestors, some of them are very nice and others are an annoyance. For instance, I inherited my grandfather’s premature white hair and have had to live with that since I was 30—years—old. The cheesy grin that I often display as I walk through the hospital hallways I got from my dad. The fact that I like to organize certain things, I can thank my mother for. However, there are a myriad of things that aren’t genetic traits we inherit and one of those is integrity. For many of us, integrity has to be developed over many decades and with lots of bruising.

What words come to your mind when you think of integrity? I have asked this question to groups many times over the years, and I most often hear: honesty, trustworthiness and dependability. Even though we are to live one day at a time, life can be like a marathon. As the years have passed, I have tried to live a better life of integrity to those around me.

Next year, Shawnee Mission Medical Center...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/3/2011 10:27 AM
When I was in my middle teens, I felt a strong call upon my life to go into the Gospel ministry. But it wasn’t until 13 years later that I finally decided to pursue that as a vocation. By this time I had been married for almost eight years and my wife and I had two beautiful daughters. This change in my life’s work would require additional education. After much prayer, discussion and research, my wife and I agreed to making the biggest change in our lives that we had ever made. We would take our family from England and come to the U.S. to go to college. Of course we planned to return home after completing college.

Four years later with degree in hand, plans changed again because I could find no ministry openings in England and I did not plan to go back to sell advertising. Through God’s providence I had an opportunity to go to the Seventh—day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan. We left Huntsville, Alabama to experience the culture of the Midwest and Seminary. Three very cold winters...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/27/2011 10:26 AM
So many of our associates have benevolent spirits. Peggy Todd, Volunteer Services Manager, is one of them. Her heart went out to a dedicated couple who have volunteered here for several years. She had noticed for some time that life was increasingly becoming a challenge for them. They were concerned the rising cost of living would diminish their resources, and their physical abilities were becoming limited, overwhelming them. Knowing they had no family in the area who could help, Peggy offered her assistance.The relationship Peggy developed with them over the years created a trusting bond. Since he was a veteran , she sought help from the Veterans’ Administration in seeking a more adequate place to live. The multiple sets of paperwork and other challenges made this a daunting mission, but Peggy persevered. She even took several days of PDO to help the couple. Finally, after months of work, enough approvals came in, allowing the couple to move their home. They now are in a facility where they are provided with...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/25/2011 9:26 AM
By the middle of July, I was sick and tired of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yet I was too lazy to prepare anything else for myself. One day while eating lunch and staring up at the under belly of the truck, I had a simple idea. What if I was to take the top off my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and smash it to the underside of the truck. I wondered how long the sandwich might remain in that position. Well, that’s what I did and for the next two months, despite being jarred around while driving off road, and along wet highways at 60 mph, the sandwich stayed put in its original stashed place. Who knows, even if that truck is in a junk yard somewhere, that sandwich might still be there.Looking back now, over almost 40 years of life’s ups and downs, I’ve discovered there is a lesson in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Persistence is a trait we are all going to have to learn whether we want to or not. Each of us needs to be present in our daily interactions. Don’t give up even though the road might...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/13/2011 7:30 AM
Do you remember the reasons why you chose to work in health care? Several decades have swiftly flown by since I began work here at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. As clear today as it was 25 years ago, I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.

My aunt Elsie and her second husband owned a large farm in rural Minnesota, far from big city life. The sprawling acres contained woodlands for my cousins and I to explore, as well as a small creek, snaking and cutting a jagged path through a nearby meadow. Surrounding the quaint farm house were numerous barns, all painted red and of different sizes. The barns were fun to explore, some had cows in them, others recently harvested grains. Prancing chickens wandered around as if they owned the place. We would hunt for eggs and find them almost anywhere, including on the seat of the rusty tractor perched in the front yard.

The most interesting creature in this barnyard circus was a blind horse named Sailor. White with black spots and dots splattered about...
By SMH Webmaster on 7/6/2011 2:39 PM
I was 3 ½ years old and leading the way for my 5 year old brother to the top of the silo on our farm. While I thought it was grand to look at things from that perspective, our mother did not. When she finally found us she calmly told us that it would probably be a good idea to come down. My grandmother and aunt, who had helped her look for us, were not as calm.

This was not the only time we climbed to great heights. The barn had a hay mow and what fun it was to play up there. A ladder led high up to the windows near the top, inviting us to climb and explore the world outside from a different perspective. We could see the creek that ran through our farm, over the trees to the fields and to our neighbor’s farms. Life looked much bigger from that vantage point. But our favorite place to climb was up the tree next to our house. From the long limbs, we could walk on the roof. The only problem was that we were soon discovered and instantly asked to come down.

Today I think of these adventures in a new way....
By SMH Webmaster on 6/29/2011 1:21 PM
My family and I had the opportunity to go with another family on a wonderful trip to Mexico. One beautiful day we rented a boat to take us to a small island off the coast. The island had been set aside as a nature reserve and it was abundant with life! We had a wonderful time. Our kids swam with the manta rays and we saw so many birds and other animals. But as we were enjoying this special place, suddenly our guide said that we had to leave. While we were hesitant at first, he was right, we really needed to leave. A fierce storm was quickly approaching and we needed to return to the mainland before it hit the tiny island.

As we loaded on the boat for the return trip, I saw the captain crossing himself with prayer. It was clear that even he was afraid.

I have always loved the story of Jesus calming the storm. Peace be still. Everyone on the boat was afraid, but I wasn’t. I just kept thinking, He is in the boat with us. He is going to see us through the storm even if it isn’t calmed. I had great peace....
By SMH Webmaster on 6/15/2011 8:38 AM
When I was away at college my mother would write to me, just notes from home to let me know how things were going. She would often express her concern for my wife and children, and whenever she could she would put a little money in the envelope. Now that she is gone, I wish I had kept those letters. Mom would always close her letters by letting me know that she was praying for me. I received great comfort from those words. In fact, I am still comforted by those words. You see, I have come to understand that the one thing a human being can create that is eternal is a prayer. Think about it for a moment. When we pray, God hears. Since He is perfect, he has perfect knowledge and never forgets. So when we pray, our prayers become a part of the memories of an eternal God. Therefore every prayer that my mother prayed for me is still being replayed in the mind of God. How awesome is that? E. M. Bounds says of prayer, “It is a voice that goes into God’s ear, and it lives as long as God’s ear is open to holy pleas, as...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/6/2011 2:33 PM
It was not an unusual Wednesday morning; the day began with its scheduled meetings and routine activities. There were meetings and rounding and tests, oh my. There were updates to give to patients and waiting family members and a thousand other things that make up a hospital day. But all that would change with one pager message and an overhead announcement, because unknown to the busy staff at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, weather conditions outside were perfect for a tornado.

The message read, “Tornado WARNING/HIGH WINDS – MOVE PTS NOW! Tornado &/or its projected path includes SMMC. Unit staff assist patients and visitors to interior corridors away from glass windows and doors. 11:29am 5/25/11.” Clinical staff sprang into action on the units, Leadership walked briskly from the incident command center to their various assignments and Chaplains fanned out from the Spiritual Wellness office. Patients were quickly moved by a calm, competent team of professionals who spoke words of hope to conscious patients as they moved them, and assured family members concerning vented patients that could not be moved too far. As we watched the sky darken we knew that a storm might be approaching, but there was a wonderful calm inside the hospital.

...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/25/2011 11:10 AM
My working definition of courage is not waiting until you are no longer fearful before taking action, but rather taking action in the midst of your fear. In 1961, a group of 13 young adult men and women, some white and some black, boarded a Greyhound bus in Atlanta headed for the deep South. Their purpose was to confront head—on the segregation and bigotry that prevailed during that time. When they boarded the bus, they knew they were placing themselves in danger of physical harm, or even death, but they believed their cause was noble enough to risk their lives. They were part of a larger organization that history remembers as the “Freedom Riders,” a group that hoped their peaceful, non—violent protest would affect some change in politics and culture.

When their bus reached Aniston, Alabama, they were surrounded by an angry mob wielding sticks and clubs and baseball bats. A bottle bomb crashed through one of the windows, and in moments, the inside of the bus was engulfed in thick smoke and flames. The passengers...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/18/2011 8:55 AM
Nestled beneath an old, unused train trestle was a quaint little fishing hole where my brother and I as kids would spend endless hours on a summer afternoon. Beneath the shade of oak and elm trees, the spot was cool even on a hot and humid afternoon. A quiet waterfall tumbled a cascade of clear water a few feet down to where we would sit on large limestone boulders. In an afternoon, we would easily snare one hundred crappies, sunfish and the occasional northern pike. To this day this remains one of my favorite childhood memories.

While strolling to the fishing hole with poles lingering gently on our shoulders, we would stop at Hank’s Bait Shop to purchase minnows for our hooks. Hank was a portly man in his sixties. With a twinkle in his eyes, he teased and cajoled us in a friendly way. Hank was one of our favorite people. Typically, a quarter would buy a net full of minnows, but we could barely scrape together five cents. Nevertheless, Hank would fill up the net and toss the minnows in our bucket. He didn’t...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/11/2011 12:56 PM
There is an old magazine article that I keep in a drawer in my desk here at work. I don’t know why I have kept it all of these years. Perhaps it is the title which keeps bringing me back to look at the article every now and then.

Needless to say, even though it is a simple title, I don’t yet fully comprehend what the story is trying to tell me. This short article, entitled “What Does God Want?” was written in 1994 and now rests on a yellow and frayed piece of paper.

The article begins with a short, and I mean very short, story about a woman living in Los Angeles who works at a city mission providing for the dirty, desperate and down trodden people of the street. The woman has learned over many years working with the helpless human condition that her job is not only to teach and preach to the forsaken people of the street, but to be Jesus’ love to them. Did you happen to catch what has taken my simple mind nearly twenty years to understand? We are to BE his love.

This easily applies to our work in this sacred institution. Each of us in a way has been called to do this work. In the end, we will be judged not necessarily for being successful, but more importantly for being faithful in taking care of those in need that meet us here daily in our sacred appointments.

...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/6/2011 10:44 AM
My mother always told me that “good manners cost nothing but can get you everything.” The truth of this statement is demonstrated in one of the side stories connected to a group of lottery winners. On March 25, 2011, seven government workers from Albany, NY, bought the only winning lottery ticket for a $319 million Mega—millions jackpot. Congratulations to them!

The story that caught my interest was how a very rude man missed out on the winning ticket because he cut the line. Mike Barth, the person from the office pool assigned to buy the ticket was at the front of the line when, according to a news report, “he got a hankering for some candy.” He stepped out of the line to pick up a candy bar, expecting to step back into his place in the line, and as he did so a man reached over him and bought the next randomly generated ticket. Mike thought to himself, ‘how rude, I should say something.’ He decided not to bother and let the guy go, then he bought the next randomly generated ticket, the winning ticket.

...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/28/2011 12:18 PM
Then I began to wonder what my untold story was and later when driving home from the grocery store, I realized that I had several. There were a couple of things tucked away in my memory that I had never told anyone. I dared not, for fear of what others might think of me. I’m not alone though. I’ve concluded that we all have three stories. Those stories that everyone knows about us that we live everyday. Then there are stories that only those closest to us know, our spouses, kids, parents and closest friends. Finally, there are those one or two stories known only to you and your Maker, and you might never tell anyone else.

As my own years keep marching incessantly forward, I have tried to live a sincere life with more integrity. I want those around me who I come into contact with everyday to know the person standing in front of them. Two verses from the Bible found in Romans 12 stand out when I think of our relationships with others. Verse 9 says, “Don’t just pretend you love others, really love them” and...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/20/2011 12:18 PM
It’s hard to believe, but I can actually remember my first day of Kindergarten. It was my favorite year of school, as I’m sure it was for others. In anticipation of that great moment when I entered the halls of education, my five—year—old stomach was tied up in knots. With sweaty hands and big round eyes, I jumped into our bulky, green 1954 Ford as my mother drove me to school. My mother, being a very pragmatic person, stopped at the entrance to the school, handed me a nickel to cover the cost of milk bottles for the week and politely shoved me out of the car.

I noticed that other moms were holding their children’s hands as together they walked into the school. I remember feeling a little bit lonely, so to ease my nervousness, I shoved the nickel in my mouth. Standing at the front door to the classroom was the first teacher I ever had. Wearing a lovely printed pinafore and a white sweater, Miss Helms saw me approaching the door. With a big sincere smile, she commented, “You must be Bradley!” At that moment...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/19/2011 8:22 AM
Before you begin reading this, take a moment and look at your hands. Your life’s history is in a way displayed in your hands. Pause to look at each finger, your thumbs as well as the front and back of each hand. If you are like me, memories of foolish things I’ve done are there to remember. On an evening many years ago at a small town baseball game, with the chatter of a baseball game in the air and the mixed aroma of cigars and popcorn, I was collecting glass pop bottles underneath of the bleachers. As youngsters, we could turn in twelve pop bottles for a free bottle of pop, my favorite being Bubble Up. Spying a pop bottle in the unmown grass below the bleachers, I reached down to pick it up, not realizing the that the top of the bottle had been broken when dropped to some rocks below. Needless to say, the top of one of my fingers was cut very deeply. As these were the days before running to the emergency room, my mother simply wrapped it very tightly until it healed. Even now, the jagged uneven scar is still...
By SMH Webmaster on 4/7/2011 1:31 PM
I have a fond memory of a long ago forgotten and destroyed dock that used to sit in the middle of the green and murky river that flowed through the middle of my home town in Minnesota. Many lazy summer days were spent swimming about the old wooden dock. I can still here the cacophony of intermingled young voices through the years of time. A five foot ladder led up to the first level of the very large dock where twenty laughing and shoving kids could mingle. There was a ten foot diving board as well as a sixteen foot diving board looming above us, the latter of which always drew the attention of my closest group of friends.

Often three of us would climb up a rickety ladder to the small waiting area at the top of the sixteen foot diving board. As twelve year olds often are, we three boys were of different sizes, with me being the largest, all 100 pounds of me. Once on top, we would gingerly climb up on top of each other until one boy sat on top of another boy who sat on top of me. You know where I'm probably...
SHAWNEE MISSION HEALTH LOCATIONS
Shawnee Mission Medical Center
9100 West 74th Street
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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Main Number
913-676-2000
Prairie Star
23401 Prairie Star Parkway
Lenexa, Kansas 66227
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913-676-8500
Overland Park
7820 W. 165th Street
Overland Park, KS 66223
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913-373-1100